War in the Mountains
Second Sudanese Civil War
After some earlier incursions by the SPLA, the Second Sudanese Civil War started full scale in the Nuba Mountains when the Volcano Battalion of the SPLA under the command of the Nuba Yousif Kuwa Mekki and Abdel Aziz Adam al-Hillu entered the Nuba Mountains and began to recruit Nuba volunteers and send them to SPLA training facilities in Ethiopia. The volunteers walked to Ethiopia and back and many of them perished on the way.
During the war, the SPLA generally held the Mountains, while the Sudanese Army held the towns and fertile lands at the feet of the Mountains, but was generally unable to dislodge the SPLA, even though the latter was usually very badly supplied. The Governments of Sudan under Sadiq al-Mahdi and Omar al-Bashir also armed militias of Baggara Arabs to fight the Nuba and transferred many Nuba forcibly to camps.
In early 2002 the Government and the SPLA agreed on an internationally supervised ceasefire. International observers and advisors were quickly dispatched to Kadugli base camp and several deployed into the mountains to co-located with SPLA command elements. The base camp at Kauda for several observers included Swiss African advisor, French diplomat, an Italian and an American former US Army officer.
At that time, Abdel Aziz Adam al-Hillu was the governor of Nuba Mountains. During the course of the following months, relief supplies from the UN were air dropped to stem the starvation of many in Nuba Mountains.
The ceasefire in Nuba Mountains was the foundation for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in January 2005. This fragile peace remains in force, but infighting in the south, plus the Government of Sudan involvement in Darfur have resulted in issues which may break the peace agreement.
Secession – South Sudan challenges for Nuba Mountains
Southern Sudan voted for secession from Sudan in the Southern Sudanese independence referendum, 2011. This provision was agreed to in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The secession victory established the formation of a new country, South Sudan, from the southern portion of Sudan.
Though many inhabitants of the Nuba Mountains identify with the south, they were not allowed to join the secession to South Sudan. Conflict between Northern and Southern forces, and against the Nuba peoples, renewed again in the region in 2011 — see Sudan–SPLM-N conflict (2011) for detailed information.